Checking into a hotel? Don’t let the bed bugs bite.
I travel all the time and, knock on wood, I don’t believe I’ve ever been in a hotel with a problem. Let’s hope it stays that way! But if you do get to a hotel room that has an infestation, SmarterTravel.com offers the following tips on what to do, courtesy of the National Pest Management Association’s (NPMA):
1. Check your room. Upon arriving, put your luggage in the bathroom where bed bugs can’t easily hide. Then do an inspection. “Pull back the sheets and inspect the mattress seams, particularly at the corners, for pepper-like stains or spots or even the bugs themselves. Adult bedbugs resemble a flat apple seed,” NPMA Vice President of Public Affairs Missy Henriksen says. Do the same inspection behind the headboard, inside chair and couch cushions, behind picture frames, and around electrical outlets.
2. Request a different room. Should you see signs of an infestation, you’ll need to move your room or possibly checkout of the hotel altogether! If you decide to stay put, be sure your next room is not connected in any way to your first room. “Bedbugs can easily hitchhike via housekeeping carts and luggage or even through wall sockets,” Henriksen reports. “If an infestation is spreading, it typically does so in the rooms closest to the origin.”
3. Cover your bags. You should avoid putting your luggage on the bed or floor. Store it on luggage racks in a protective cover, if possible. Use a plastic bag in a pinch if you don’t have a protective cover.
4. Keep everything off the floor while in transit. Beds aren’t the only places that harbor bed bugs. You should avoid putting your bag on the floor of an airplane, bus, train, or taxi too. Keep small bags on your lap, and use protective plastic covering before putting bags into overhead bins or otherwise checking them in.
5. Treat your luggage and clothes after travel.
- Inspect your suitcases before bringing them into the house, and vacuum all luggage before storing it.
- Consider using a handheld garment steamer to steam your luggage; this can kill any bedbugs or eggs that might have hitched a ride home.
- Immediately wash and dry all of your clothes — even those that have not been worn — in hot temperatures to ensure that any stowaway bedbugs are not transported into your drawers or closet.
- Keep clothes that must be dry-cleaned in a plastic bag and take them to the dry cleaner as soon as possible.
- If you suspect a bedbug infestation in your home, contact a licensed pest professional promptly. Bedbugs are not a DIY pest, and the longer you wait, the larger the infestation will grow. A trained professional has the tools and knowledge to effectively treat your infestation. To find a local pest control professional, visit PestWorld.org, the official site of the NPMA.